questionswhat is the easiest way to upgrade a laptops…

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Easiest way is to upgrade the RAM. What are you running that 4GB isn't enough already? Just curious. Sometimes if you want desktop performance you have to get a desktop or pay an insane amount for a high end laptop.

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@zuiquan: Sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much porn dude. You don't even know.

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@captainsuperdawg: I lol'd. I didn't want to but I did anyway.

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@zuiquan: It is running fine at the moment but just wanted to see if I can make it a bit better. I have been wanting to learn how to do simple things like this to computers for a while and thought this may be a good starting point.

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@zuiquan: Although 4GB of RAM should be sufficient for most things, RAM by itself will not get you back to #1 on the leaderboard. Just sayin'.....

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@nedreck: This question has actually nothing to do with the leaderboard. If you have noticed the last two months or so, I have not been no.1 more than I have been. I have been spending more of my time on the other Woot! sites as of late. The reason why I asked this question is that I am beginning a new class tomorrow learning about hardware, operating systems among other things. I want to start playing with the machines I have here at home to see what I am actually able to do. Of course, I am not downvoting your comments because there has been so much negativity around here lately I don't want to get pulled into it all. I am truly clueless when it comes to this stuff, that's why I asked for some opinions.

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I believe upgrading the hard drive to an SSD can make the computer appear much faster. The system will boot faster and programs will load faster. The hard drive is more complicated to replace than the memory but it's definitely worth it.

When replacing the hard drive, you have two options. 1. Format and reinstall everything from scratch or 2. Copy the contents of the old hard drive to the new SSD. The Samsung 840 Evo came with software that helps you migrate the data from your old drive to the new one. If you get a different brand, I'm not sure what tool you'll get but you can always use any of many over the shelf programs like Ghost.

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Unless you are using a ton of RAM, I doubt adding additional memory will make your laptop any faster. Upgrading to a SSD will have the greatest impact and anything else would just be spending money for essentially no reason at all.

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@conanthelibrarian:
What is the exact make and model you have ?
Do you have a link to it ?

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I'll third upgrading to an SSD. The difference is very noticable from the start up. You won't notice the difference in RAM until you're using what you already have.

EDIT:Upgrading to an SSD is very easy and most come with a program to duplicate your current drive.

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@conanthelibrarian: That website says your computer can run 4GB of RAM

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The EASIEST method is using Windows built-in READY BOOST. All you need is a removable flash drive like an SD card or Thumb Drive (it is available in Windows Vista and later).

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/products/features/readyboost

It is not only the easiest, but the cheapest. In comparison, all of the other mentioned methods are more difficult and costly.

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/tutorials/using-windows-readyboost-to-increase-performance/

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@nmchapma: I ran the specs through crucial.com and it stated that it can take 8GB but being that I know so little about this stuff I was not sure if this was correct.

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@conanthelibrarian: Crucial .com has the real spec.'s for your 'puter.

Here : http://www.crucial.com/store/listparts.aspx?model=IdeaPad%20S405

The "Tech specs" on the Lenovo site are what is available from them when you are ordering the computer new.

Win8 requires a minimum of 4 GB of RAM to function. If you increase it to the max. of 8 GB there will be some increase in speed, but might not be too noticeable unless you are using more than one program at a time.

Adding a SSD will be the best way to add speed to start-up time and access to programs.

You can also decrease the amount of programs in the "Start-up list.

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Fourth (fifth or sixth) the bit about the SSD, or possibly a hybrid drive to speed things up. Quick search indicated that this particular laptop requires a 7mm drive, so if you do upgrade, make sure you get the right size (thickness).

I don't know enough to say whether a CPU swap is an option. Lots of Dells have socketed CPUs. Some Lenovos had socketed, while others had soldered. Haven't cracked the case on anything newer than a Core 2 Duo for a Lenovo, so I'm pretty out of date on these. Same search didn't speak to this, so I am assuming soldered rather than socketed. If you've already got the A8-4555M Quad Core, you're already maxed out.

Final thing noted from the search is that it sounded like the laptop only had a single memory slot. If that's the case, you'd need to swap the single 4 GB for a single 8 GB to upgrade the memory. Please double check before upgrading.

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Sometimes you can get by with upping the virtual memory. It's the section on your hard drive where information is stored when your RAM isn't enough or isn't fast enough. The general rule of thumb used to be to make it 1.5x the amount of RAM. So if you have 4GB of RAM, then you'll want 6GB of virtual memory. However, I know that I personally don't even have virtual memory in use on my personal PC -- is this even still enabled by default?

Replacing the hard drive with an SSD isn't difficult and you will definitely see a boost in performance. It will, however, require you to reinstall your OS afterwards. It can also be a bit pricey. I think the last time I checked a 240GB SSD was about $150-200 depending on brand and other features. Hard drives are literally 2 wires (one power cable and the SATA cable).

Finally, a software adjustment makes a big difference. Remove any program you don't use and the ones you use occasionally should remain off when not in use. This will help a ton.

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Get more RAM, install an SSD boot drive, and remove all the crapware that builds up over time.... toolbars, codec packs, unused apps, etc.

I just installed an SSD in a 12 year old pentium4 winXP desktop with 2GB RAM, and it now boots from cold to the XP desktop in 15 seconds. Even running SATA 1 connections that old machine blazes!

to keep costs down, one option is to go with a smaller 128GBor less (cheaper, too, under $100) SSD for the OS and main apps, and replace the optical drive with an HDD caddy and a traditional rotational hdd for basic storage. Most people these days don't use their cd/dvd drives as much as they think they do

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@cengland0: is right, I dropped a 64gb SSD into a D630. (C2D running around 2ghz with 2gb of Ram) Without a doubt it out preformed my desk PC. SSD became a must for my next build. I got a 240gb on sale for $120, not sure what they are going for now.
Fresh reinstall. A bit of work but if windows is over 2 years old, it is not a bad idea.

You said easy, this is the easiest:
Let your computer run over night (or for a few hours), is it running bad because it is behind on updates? I did a fresh install to a PC installed the necessities and all updates, they left it unplugged from the internet because 'it was not going to be used for that', they changed their mind and plugged it in the updates crushed the machine for well over 30 minutes. Chrome, Windows, Java, AV.
Run CCleaner.if pre windows Vista run defrag.

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I'd look at the software you have installed in the machine. IMO, that is the main thing that will slow down a 4GB RAM machine. Uninstall anything you aren't using and check to see what is running in the background. The SSD will definitely speed things up too (another 2-4GB of RAM might have a noticeable difference, maybe not - check your usage in task manager if you're on a PC)

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Sounds like the SSD is the way to go. Going to see if I have the back up discs somewhere. The machine does not have a DVD drive so I will need to borrow an external one. Since this question got me thinking about what I have around here, I found I have an old Windows XP net book with 1GB of RAM that I think I may start playing with. No worries if I destroy that one! Thanks everyone for the help!

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@conanthelibrarian: I would suggest taking advantage of the software to copy your existing drive onto the SSD and then re-installing the OS onto the SSD. I know this sounds redundant and unnecessary but please keep reading. Many machines now have a hidden partition that is needed to re-install your OS. The new SSD will not have this partition so you would be stuck. However, if you ghost the old drive onto the SSD you'll have all the partitions of the original drive and re-installation will be a breeze. I can't promise this is a necessary step for your machine but it might save you some trouble.

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@conanthelibrarian: I concur that moving from a SATA HD to a SSD would likely give you the most noticeable improvement.

Do you know if you are running 64-bit or 32-bit Windows 8? If 32-bit, more that 4GB of RAM would be useless as there is an addressable limit of just under 4GB for 32 bit OSs.

If you do go the SSD route, there are a couple of ways to go. You can format the new SSD and run a fresh install or you could try cloning the SATA drive contents to the new SSD.

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The first option will require you to install any additional software titles you have added since purchase and may, depending on how you do it, require you to add some software that was pre-installed on your laptop. Cloning the drive can be an easier transition, but you have to make sure that you purchase a SSD that is large enough to hold all of the data on the SATA drive. If you have a lot of pics, movies, or other "stand alone" types of files, you might want to move them before trying to clone the drive. Free up any space that doesn't need to be on SSD to see what size of SSD to purchase. Do leave yourself some room to grow... Cloning the SATA drive would also allow you to keep the SATA drive as an emergency backup. You could also get an external disk enclosure and use it as secondary (removable/portable ) storage after the SSD is up and running.

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How about getting rid of Windows 8 and running an OS that isn't as bloated? I run Kubuntu 12.10 on my 5+ year old thinkpad with 4gb ram and it is hands down faster than any of the windows PCs that I have the displeasure of interacting with at work even though most of them should be much much faster.

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@lparsons42: I have been wanting to downgrade since the day I got it, I just didn't know if it would make a significant difference. I will need to contact Lenovo and see what I need to do, from what I understand it is not that big of a deal.

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@conanthelibrarian: SSD on XP, you may need to jump through some hoops for the driver. I do not have time to check for you.
"Run CCleaner.if pre windows Vista run defrag."
that should have read Run CCleaner.
If pre windows Vista run defrag. Vista and 7 have auto defrag.

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@conanthelibrarian:
Join the Lenovo forums if you have not already done so.
You will get all the info. you need there.
http://forums.lenovo.com/t5/IdeaPad-S-series-Netbooks/bd-p/IdeaPad_Netbook

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@conanthelibrarian: If you downgrade within windows, make sure you downgrade to a 64bit version or you'll only be able to address 3.5gb ram. If you have enough space on your HD I would recommend you try setting up a dual-boot configuration and running a non-Microsoft OS on a second partition on the same drive.

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@nmchapma: http://www.ibtimes.com/black-friday-hard-drive-deals-hdd-ssd-flash-drive-discounts-amazon-newegg-best-buy-walmart-1489036
I got the Seagate 600 Series 240GB for 129.99 - %10 for using the newegg Android app.
SO I got a 240gb SSD for $117 with free shipping!

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That said, some people might say I have something in common with this guy:

http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/1995-06-24/

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@lparsons42: Every time I have done dual boot I ended up with corrupting the boot making both OS'es unbootable.
A way around this would be to select the bootable drive in bios.

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SSD will improve performance, boot times much faster, battery life longer. Some depends on how much read write you are doing.

As mentioned get CCleaner first. Cleaning up your existing HD can do wonders - if after you defrag it doesn't look clean then it's time to get rid of all the old programs you aren't using. If you are able to partition it then just put the OS in one and everything else in the other.

Sorry if this is a repeat. Lots of good advice as I am considering putting an SSD in a laptop that isn't getting used much.

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@caffeine_dude: Most of the Unix/Linux installers now do a much better job of setting up a logical and almost-fool-proof boot loader. It is much easier to get it working correctly now than it was just a couple years ago.

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Really depends on what you do with the machine. SSD will make a difference when loading programs from disk but if you aren't running a lot of programs that's something you do once then you're mostly done with disk I/O. The exception is things like photo, movie or music editing. If you are running a lot of programs then having more memory will make more of a difference. If you're like me and never shut your machines down and run a lot of programs with multiple users on the machine then SSD doesn't gain you much compared to maxing out the memory. I've got 4 machines at home with SSDs in them, one of those (the laptop I'm using now) did not have maxed out memory until last month. Maxing out the memory finally got it running like I wanted. My advice to "power users" is that you get the biggest bang for your buck by maxing out the memory, then if you still want more speed and can afford it you add an SSD. For every day casual users, don't do either unless you are seeing obvious problems

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@lparsons42: I am not saying it was hard, what happened to me was I made a xp\xp\linux boot. Worked fine for a few months.

One day xp (my default) would not load. I tried my 2nd 'clean' XP, no luck, I tried linux no luck. The software that managed the 3 OS'es got currupted.
I was told it was my fault as 'windows can not dual boot on the same machine'. (never mind I had it working). SO, I started over and dual booted xp\linux. Same thing, worked fine for a while, then suddenly no boot. either OS, it was the last time I dual booted.

Do not worry I have not given up on my linux OS, I have it on VMs and old PCs. I really want a super light weight linux I can run on dell d830 and D620s but wi-fi is always an obstacle. Time to get rid of XP (support is ending soon) perhaps I will put a bit more work into it. All I have tried is latest (at the time) Ubuntu, if it did not work on boot, I pulled the drive and put the XP drive back in. (Now that is dual boot)

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I see a lot of one or the other comments..
I would max out the Ram "and" install a SSD.. I already have done this with a couple of my Laptops.. The others that wont except a SSD I just max'ed out the RAM.. It is surprising how much Ram a system will utilize when it becomes available which improves system performance.. The SSD is just that much faster than standard HDDs... In the next few years you wont be able to purchase 2.5" a HDD since they are stopping production because demand has dropped so much do to increased usage of SSDs..
Enjoy your classes...

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Before you spend any $$ , find a good article on how to disable windows services that you do not need/use . There is much crapola running in the background on all windows OSes. On win8, you can easily see whats slowing you down with the "new +improved" Task Manager. Pay close attention to Media Center updating or sharing (if you have it). Also-you may be able to do a clean install eliminating the bloatware. Once you get down to a lean and mean OS , then you may want to think about adding a SSD. Did it upgrade to 8.1 yet?-I see no real difference that makes it worth the win 8 to 8.1 move ,but, my win 8 PC was getting sluggish-so I let it upgrade...seems like that may have helped a little-dunno. Hopefully they'll have a complete, stable android OS available for everything soon. With the resources you have in that laptop-it would be a speed demon on android. Good Luck

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@cengland0: About a year 1/2 ago, my bro wouldn't stop complaining about how slow his old macbook (from 2006) has been, so I upgraded him to an SSD. I had no clue what I was doing. It's fast now, and not a complaint from him.

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easiest to upgrade : RAM

Most Practical to upgrade: HDD to SSD

Best to upgrade: Laptop :)

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Late to the game, but I wanted to add a thought or two.

I agree that an SSD will significantly speed up disk related process, especially boot up.

Separately, if you upgrade to 8GB ram, see if you can run w/o a paging file/swap file. This will eliminate extraneous swaps to the slower disks & just use system ram.

Downgrading to Windows 7 has a few potential problems, most of which are Win8 specific drivers. I just worked on a relatively new HP Envy M6. The owner had a friend who recommended the downgrade, to avoid the bloatware and/or learning curve of Win8 vs. Win7. He wants to keep 7, but several drivers from HP as well as the Catalyst drivers from AMD will NOT work with Win7. Logically, the drivers should have worked, but, after a few hours of trying, I couldn't get the graphics drivers to work right. I think he's gonna go back to Win8 to get his performance back.

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@rlapid2112:
"Separately, if you upgrade to 8GB ram, see if you can run w/o a paging file/swap file. This will eliminate extraneous swaps to the slower disks & just use system ram. "

How would I go about doing this? I am going to purchase the additional 4GB to get up to 8 but was not sure how to turn off the paging file/swap file. I am a serious newbie when it comes to this stuff. Thanks for the input!

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@conanthelibrarian:
http://lerablog.org/technology/how-to-change-the-virtual-memory-size-in-windows-8/
or
http://youtu.be/KxCvnz9fKvs

Instead of selecting a size, choose "No paging file" and click set. A warning will come up about not having a paging file.

Keep in mind, if you open a bunch (over 10 or so) individual windows, you'll need a paging file. However, you'll get a warning & Windows may even create a small paging file for you (not sure on this in Win8).

The reason to do this is simple; when Windows is running multiple tasks, it takes the least used memory and swaps it to disk (Swap file, paging file, virtual memory, etc). Having no paging file prevents this as long as you aren't using all your RAM. If you are using lots of open docs, browser windows/tabs, then this will not help. That being said, 8GB of RAM would support a lot of open windows or very large documents.

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@conanthelibrarian:
One last thing, make sure you purchase RAM that will actually fit in the slots you have available. If you have no available slots (assuming 2 slots with 2GB RAM in each) you'll have to purchase all 8GB and not use the RAM you have. Best case is you have one open slot and are running a single 4GB RAM SODIMM. Gotta make sure timing is correct (DDR3, PC-10600, etc...).

To make sure & get best performance, just buy all 8GB, as a kit, so timing and DDR will work correctly. Like here:
http://www.crucial.com/store/mpartspecs.aspx?mtbpoid=18E7E638A5CA7304

{As i type this for a third-hand Toshiba Satellite running 2GB RAM and an Intel T2050 micrprocessor)

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Also depends on your current operating system. Some OS uses much more CPU and RAM than another OS.

Easiest to upgrade = RAM = anything more than the 4GB minimum of today.

Second easiest but not necessarily = hard drive but I don't think that would do any good unless you tried SSD.

Hardest upgrade = swap out that CPU if your laptop can do it.

All else fails = buy another laptop, preferably from Woot.

What I've done also is migrate all my useless files (stuff I don't need immediate access for 24/7) such as old photos and movies to an external drive (and disconnect all the external drives!). Having too much data on the hard drive tends to slow down my computer in my opinion, I don't have the scientific evidence to prove that though. Plus I usually re-format my computer (and zero-out the hard drive) when I do this because zeroing out the hard drive supposedly makes reading/writing to the drive much more faster and efficient.

Just my $0.02!